Film group wants to boost KC film industry with tax incentives

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Steven Spielberg movie could've been filmed right here in Kansas City if only the city offered any tax relief. That might all change.

City Council just passed a measure that will now give tax breaks to movies. It's too late for Spielberg, but it leaves the door wide open for other multi-million dollar projects.

There’s history, architecture, and beauty in Kansas City. Word is getting out that this town is a natural backdrop for movies.

“We get so many different responses from lots of these directors that fly in from L.A. and they’re surprised; they're like, 'this is Kansas City? It's not what I expected.' Kansas City is amazing and people are starting to realize that,” said cinematographer Isaac Alongi.

Local filmmakers, Alongi and Sandra Martin tapped city’s resources when filming their movie "Trust Fund." It was a 25-day shoot with no tax credits.

“It was a treat to be able to film in our hometown,” said Martin. “But anything is helpful to have a little relief.”

That all changed on Thursday when the City Council passed a local rebate program to help film production in Kansas City, Mo. Filmmakers can request funds from a bank capped at $75,000. Projects can receive a 3.5 or 7 percent rebate on expenditures.

“We are the only city without a state incentive to have an offering like this,” said Stephanie Scupham, the Film & Media Manger with Visit KC.

A multi-million dollar movie titled "Thank You For Your Service" passed on filming in Kansas City because there weren’t any incentives in place. That meant executive producer Steven Spielberg and American Sniper director Jason Hall moved the movie to Georgia.

“It’s a film about Kansas City area people and is set in Kansas city, but will film in Atlanta,” said Scupham.

With the local incentive in place, it’s sending the message to the film industry that KC is open for business.

“Decisions will be made as to where productions will be done. It's knowing that the city is film friendly," Martin explained.

Local film representatives in Missouri are taking the fight to the capitol to hopefully pass tax incentives across the state.